How To Start a Small Scale Pearl Farming Business

Commercial pearl farming is a lucrative business. However, you will need to have sound technical knowledge. Furthermore, the business demands comparatively higher initial investment. Here in this post, we intend to explore how to start a profitable pearl farming business for your ready reference.

The cultured pearl industry is changing rapidly. The demand for cultured pearl is increasing. However, major driving factors are new technologies and more widespread access to technologies for cultivating pearls. These “cultured pearls” are generally larger and of a more consistent size and color than natural pearls.

Related: Most Profitable Carp Fish Farming Business Ideas

Producing cultured pearls depends on a surgical procedure called grafting. It entails surgically implanting an artificial nucleus (shell bead) into the tissue of a pearl oyster.

Why Is Commercial Pearl Farming Profitable?

Due to the high value of the final product, pearl farming is a lucrative business. Although the price of the pearly greatly depends on the size and quality. Furthermore, this is a specific farming business where the final product is lightweight and nonperishable. In addition, this business is also a compatible occupation for people who like working on the water. And also who have boating, diving, and fishing skills.

Apart from the grafting process, pearl farming is a relatively simple form of aquaculture. Because this business doesn’t demand artificial feeds, complicated farm structures or constant attention. However, you must properly manage the farm to get the success in the business.

Things To Consider In Starting Pearl Farming Business

Successful pearl farming demands a long-term investment of time, money, and hard work. It requires at least 2 to 3 years time to harvest the first time. Furthermore, you will generally able to make the profit from the second or third harvest. So you must have enough money, time and patience to care for the farm during this time.

Secondly, the production of high-quality pearls is the key to having a profitable farm. And you will only get 5-10% pearls of high quality from each crop. Therefore, these top quality pearls fetch the 90% of the profit of the farm. And you must produce high-quality pearls with proper care and maintenance.

In conclusion, it is important to have a reliable source of pearl oysters. You must select a suitable site. In addition, you must arrange sufficient funds to start and operate the farm. You will need to take technical help from the grafting technicians. Arrange for the same. Finally, check whether you have the ability to market the pearls Before starting a farm, evaluate whether you meet the above criteria or not.

Investment For Starting Pearl Farming Business

Generally, you will get a substantial return after 4 to 5 years. So you must keep on investment to operate the farm. Even after the first time harvest, you may not get the return on your initial investment. However, these are the major cost you will need to carry out.

  • Cost of obtaining pearl oysters
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Shipping costs for equipment and supplies and import taxes
  • Farm structure and platform
  • SCUBA gear
  • Utilities and labor charges

Stepwise Pearl Farming Business Plan Guide

Site Selection 

Selecting a good farm site is an important first step towards producing good pearls. The site affects how well pearl oysters grow, the quality of the pearls, how safe the farm is from theft or vandalism and how much it costs to operate the farm. Furthermore, it is difficult to move the farm after establishment.

Setup The Farm 

Pearl farms require only very simple structures. However, you must provide some means of
holding pearl oysters off the bottom. There are three basic types of farm structures: Tahitian longlines
(so-called because they are the most common method used in Tahiti), rafts and underwater trestles.
You can also use some combination of these, depending on your needs and location.

Preparing The Pearl Oysters 

There are many ways to hold adult pearl oysters including chaplets, lantern baskets, pocket nets and floating or submerged trays. However, you must decide which method is best for your location and budget. Whichever method you choose to use, ensure that you carefully clean the pearl oysters each time you move them or transfer them into new containers.

Managing The Farm 

Growing pearl oysters are the same as growing any crop. So you must tend the farm often for the pearl oysters to grow well and produce high-quality pearls. Regularly check for any damage, missing lines, and floats. Furthermore, you must clean the pearl oysters from the fouling organisms that grow on their shells. Always handle the pearl oysters gently during cleaning.

Grafting The Pearl Oysters

The ideal pearl oyster size for grafting is about 4.5-6 in (12-15 cm) in length, or about the size of a woman’s hand. Also, you can graft older and larger pearls but are less likely to produce high-quality pearls. In addition, you must clean the pearl oysters on a monthly basis before grafting. Cleaning keeps the pearl oysters healthy and in good condition.

Harvesting

Harvest pearls when the nacre layer is 0.08-0.12 in (2-3 mm) thick. Do not risk producing pearls with thin nacre by trying to harvest early. After harvesting, you must keep the pearls in a secure place. Wash pearls after harvesting. Finally, always keep the records of every grafting and harvesting of your pearl farming business.